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Fact or fiction: How much of Bridgerton series is really accurate with the Regency era

Por: 5 de abril de 2022

Does the Bridgerton family did exist? What about the dresses? Was there really a black Queen in England during the Regency? This is all we know.

If you are a fan of historic dramas and romance novels, by now you’ve seen Bridgerton, the Netflix romance series about a high society family that tries to take over the social season and win the marriage market by marrying the best suitor or finding the perfect lady.

Even though the series is situated during the 1810 or the Regency era, it does take a lot of historical liberties. Its creator, Chris Van Dusen said that his main goal was to make things and characters feel relatable, therefore they reimagined the Regency London era.

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But how much of it has a historical accuracy and what is totally fiction? Well, we dive into the facts.

Was there a Bridgerton family?

Not really. The series characters are totally fictional since there is no record of a Bridgerton family in the Regency era; however, there is one character who is based on a real person and that is Queen Charlotte.

Was Queen Charlotte black?

The fact that Queen Charlotte is depicted as a woman with black origins is not so far from the truth, or at least what many researchers think.

It is believed that Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was originally from Germany, had African roots, making her the first and up to this day, only Britain’s black queen.

According to The Guardian, Queen Charlotte was directly a descendant of a black branch of the Portuguese royal family. Supposedly, she was related to Margarita de Castro e Souza, a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman whose ancestry traces from the 13th-century ruler Alfonso III and his lover Madragana, whom Valdes takes to have been a Moor and thus a black African.

Was King George III mentally ill?

This is another accuracy of the show. King George III, Queen Charlotte’s husband was the King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1801. He is best known for losing America during his reign, to have fought and won the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon’s soldiers, and even it was during his reign that the transatlantic slave trade was banned from the British Empire.

However, later in his life, he was unable to continue his reign fully and as expected because of a mental illness that to this day remains unknown. Some historians believe he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria.

Was there black or Indian aristocracy during Regency London?

Bridgerton’s creators and producers have pushed for a diverse cast in every season, making some of the elite characters to be from different origins. For example, the Duke of Hastings in the first season was played by British-Zimbabwean actor Regé-Jean Page and for the second season, Kate Sharma, Anthony’s Bridgerton love interest, has an Indian background.

Although people of different backgrounds, cultures, and countries did live in London during the Regency era, they were very few of them belonged to the upper class.

Did gossip tabloids like Lady Whistledown exist?

Lady Whistledon tabloid, beautifully narrated by Julie Andrews in Bridgerton, is actually based on Regency-era papers, which were full of celebrities’ gossip according to Hannah Greig, author of The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Gregorian London.

Did women really use those colorful dresses and corsets?

This is kind of tricky. Most of the Bridgerton dresses’ designs are mostly accurate, however, is the colors and prints that do not belong to the Regency era and that was a sartorial choice.

According to Ellen Mirojnick, the series costume designer, she took inspiration from the silhouettes, but wanted to give an increased amount of glitter, color and embellishment to the dresses to make them feel more modern, told Vogue.

However, there is one scene in season one that is totally wrong. In it we see one of the Featherington girls suffering from wearing a very tight corset, however, this piece of female clothing was not used later during the Victorian era.

During the Regency period, women used imperial cut dresses that flattered the chest and had a loose waistline, so there was no need for a corset.

Were corgis pets?

One of the latest inaccuracies of the series is the appearance of Newton, Kate’s corgi that travels with her, however, it seems that there are no records of this dog breed during the period Bridgerton is set, in the 1810s.

According to Stephanie Howard-Smith, a social historian of dogs with a Ph.D. in 18th-century lapdogs, corgis were not common pets in London nor Wales and the term “corgi” was mostly used to describe a breed of a fox.

I’ve noticed that Newton the corgi is a big deal in the new season of #Bridgerton and I realised I’ve never seen a corgi mentioned in any sources from the 18th + early 19th centuries. It got me thinking…

— Dr Stephanie Howard-Smith (@SAHowardSmith) March 26, 2022

However, she says that during the Regency era, it was common that suitors treated animals with kindness and importance because it was thought that winning the affection of a lady’s heart was a way to win her heart.

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